Recs for Beethoven piano sonatas?
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jim

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Hey guys,

Anyone have any recommendations for Beethoven's piano sonatas? I'm thinking about finally investing in another complete set. (I have schnabel's complete set right now)

Also, what is your recommended rendition of no. 21 Waldstein and no. 23 Appassionata? Those are two of my favorite beethoven sonatas that I've been practicing recently, so I'm trying to collect some recordings. Currently I have: Horowitz, Radu Lupu, Glenn Gould, Arthur Schnabel, and some other ones that I can't remember.

thanks!
 
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thomas

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Hi,

I am also a pianist, though not quite at your level... (i'm working on pathetique, moonlight, and No. 5 (Op 10 No 1)) The waldstein is also one of my favourites, i will probably try it when i have the more time to practice...

I haven't heard as many recordings as you, but I really like Wilhelm Kemff's recordigns of the sonatas. I think that he finds a good balance between romanticism and classicism- very musical and emotional, yet keeping everything well balanced and never exagerates anything
 
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redshifter

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without a doubt alfred brendel is the pianist of choice for beethoven. he has great power and feeling in his playing, yet keeps it plain and lets the music speak for itself. his later recording of the opus 110 is remarkable. brendel gets very close to the heart of beethoven's music, and puts his own personality and ego second.

daniel barenboim (sp?) is another, slightly more polished player than brendel, with phenominal power.
 
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jim

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Thanks for the recommendations guys. How could I forget about Brendel! I totally forgot about him. Thanks redshifter, I'll definitely look into that one.

Thomas, I really haven't heard that many recordings of those pieces, just a small handful. Might I note that even though I own Gould's appassionata, I can't really consider that to be a 'real' recording.. It's rather humorous in some ways though; he makes something of a mockery of it.

Of the appassionata Gould wrote:
"At this period of his life Beethoven was not only preoccupied with motivic frugality; he was also preoccupied with being Beethoven. And there is about the 'Appassionata' an egoistic pomposity, a defiant 'let's just see if I can't get away with using that once more' attitude, that on my own private Beethoven poll places this sonata somewhere between the King Stephen Overture and the Wellington's Victory Symphony."

In other words, listen to it sometime if you get a chance, but don't waste your money on it.


Btw, if you can play the pathetique and the third movement of the moonlight, you should definitely give the waldstein a shot. It's a great sonata.
 
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thomas

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lol,


I wouldn't trust gould for anything other than bach... After reading that, i feel even less inclined to listen to it


Its a shame that i'm finally at a level where I can play many of the great piano works, but I don't have any time to practice
There's about 20 pieces i want to learn, but i'm lucky to get 10 hours a week to practice, all in a noisy university residence...

I agree, Bendel's sonata's are also very good, though i've never liked barenbiom's playing (haven't heard his version of the sonata's)

I also found this review of Kemff's interpretation of waldstein, might want to take a look, though its probably not feasible to buy so many different sets of the sonata's

http://www.trovar.com/Kempff.html
 
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Quote:

Originally posted by jim
Hey guys,

(I have schnabel's complete set right now)


Curious, which version of the Schnabel do you have? How do you like it?
 
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jim

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thanks for the link, thomas. As a piano/time deprived university student myself, I can sympathize with you. Even if I had the time (which I don’t), it’s hard to sneak into the building where the Steinways are locked up. Even so, I'm trying to make a point about playing more this semester. Also, I agree with your opinion of Baremboim; he's a great pianist, but I don't really like some of his interpretations. I actually did hear a few of his sonatas about 6 years ago, but if I remember correctly, I wasn't too excited about them.

Also, I don't mean to completely discredit Gould's sonatas. I love his playing, and his allegro molto from no. 13 and the allegretto of no. 17 are brilliant, imho. He does very well on the introspective stuff, which makes sense I suppose.

The schnabel set I have is a compilation of his 1930's recordings on Dante. I bought them a while back when berkshire record outlet had them for some ridiculously low price...less than $30 I think. I honestly haven't listened to all of it yet (14 cds!), but I'm mixed on the stuff I've listened to so far. Some of his interpretation is incredibly lyrical and beautiful; he plays with subtle nuances that are a testament of how much thought he put into them. However, technically his playing leaves a bit to be desired. Personally, I find his playing too uneven in fast passages (he seems to rush the fast passages a lot), and he misses notes pretty often. Heh, sounds a bit like my technique..
Anyway, the fidelity is actually okay for such an old recording, but of course it's hissy mono material with slightly off timbre sound. Overall I'd say it's a worthwhile addition to a classical music lover's collection, especially from a historical standpoint. For less than $30, it's a no brainer.

Anyone have any thoughts on Richter's beethoven?
 
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try this :

Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Stereophile's John Atkinson records Robert Silverman for this stunning 10-disc boxed set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Click here for more information on this groundbreaking recording. http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?298
 
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thomas

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Quote:

thanks for the link, thomas. As a piano/time deprived university student myself, I can sympathize with you. Even if I had the time (which I don’t), it’s hard to sneak into the building where the Steinways are locked up


Lol, i also have to try sneaking into the music building, but even if get in its just yamaha uprights... there are steinways, but i don't know where they are


Some of my sheet music for the Sonata's are edited by Aurther Schnabel (published by cpp belwin inc). If you like his playing (minus the technical mistakes) it might be interesting to check out that edition...Personally, i think his interpretation is very strange, such as writing "non cresc." on rising scale passages, and sudden sF's for no reason and which aren't found on other editions... But i haven't heard him actually play it, for $30 maybe i should get a copy?
 
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thomas

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Quote:

Beethoven Piano Sonatas
Stereophile's John Atkinson records Robert Silverman for this stunning 10-disc boxed set of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Click here for more information on this groundbreaking recording.



ug, seems like a recoding for audiophiles, not music lovers.... pages and pages describing the equipment used in the recording and the amazing sound, yet the music isn't even played live and basically reconstructed on a computer. (he plays it slowly on the piano, then goes back to "edit" his pedling, dynamics, speed, etc) I can't see how that could possibly preserve the soul of the performance or the music....
 
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Daniel Barenboim is a renowned Beethoven pianist, so if you can find a complete sonata collection from him, i suggest you go buy it. I have his complete Mozart piano sonatas, 5 cds, i think it was from dutch grammaphone.
 
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gracky

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For complete sets, I'd say Brendel's digital set (less rigorous and more romatic than his former sets, good interesting for listening) and Kempff's mono set (far more powerful and excellent in technique compared to his stereo set).

For No.23, Don't miss Richter, crazy dynamic.
For No. 21, I don't like too fast tempi and too rigid sound, too rigorousness in tempo varitaion. My recommendation goes to Brendel (comparing his versions is interesting), R Serkin, Schunabel, Edwin Fischer (in spite of technical limit).
 
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RobertR

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Pollini on D. Gram. has a good but fast paced waldstein. the other 3 couplings are #17 , 25 & 26.
I think that Pollini won some award for hid 1977 recordings of the late sonatas but I haven't heard them.

Your thread has rekindled my interest in the B. sonatas and I'm going to the local library site and see whats there.
 
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